Santa Monica Beach
If you’re looking to relax, have fun, and get a little bit of sun, there’s no better Los Angeles beach destination than Santa Monica. There are so many things to see and do, the possibilities for entertainment are practically unlimited. Adventurous types will love the variety of land and water sports offered on the beach. Kids can splash and play at the Annenberg Community Beach House. Couples can cozy up on the beach at night and watch the rainbow colored sunset. Whether traveling for business, pleasure, or a family holiday, Santa Monica Beach is unmatched in its quintessentially Southern California beach culture.
Between San Vicente Blvd. and Rose Ave., Santa Monica Beach offers over three and a half miles of sparkling beachfront. There is plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy some fun in the sun, even on the most crowded days. Pack your most flattering swimsuit, bring along some prepackaged foods for a beachside picnic, and snag some beach toys for the kids to build sandcastles. Forget something? There are many places along the beach, such as Perry’s on the Beach, which offer rentals for things like beach chairs, umbrellas, rollerblades, bikes, and boogie boards.
For a real taste of California culture, try out a surf lesson at one of the many surf schools. Located right on the beach off Hollister Ave., Santa Monica Surf School is a highly reputable company founded ten years ago by two brothers local to the area. They offer both individual and group sessions for riders of all experience levels, with surfboard and wetsuit rental included. During the summer, they also offer surf camps for kids and teens, ranging from one to ten weeks long. The best part? According to various testimonials, they’ll have you up and riding on your very first lesson!
Santa Monica Pier
Care to venture out on the oldest pier on the west coast of the US? The Santa Monica pier is a prime tourist destination for its vintage appeal and variety of attractions. In addition to its permanent activities, the pier also hosts concerts, movie screenings, and local meetups during the summer. Entrance to the pier is at the intersection of Ocean and Colorado Avenues, just off the Pacific Coast Highway.
One of the more unique activities available on Santa Monica Pier is flying trapeze or aerial silk lessons with Trapeze School New York. Anyone can fly through the air with the greatest of ease, provided they’re over the age of six, without major injury, and under 205 lbs.
Those interested in marine life will enjoy the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which serves as an educational center for the community. Watch shark and sea star feedings, view tiny sea creatures under a microscope, admire eels and jellyfish up close through safety glass, and play with a variety of urchins, snails, and crabs in one of their touch tanks.
Kids of all ages will enjoy Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier’s own amusement park. With traditional carnival games, an arcade, delicious junk food options, and rides such as a ferris wheel and roller coaster, hours of fun await you.
Probably the most famous section of Santa Monica Beach, Muscle Beach has been a draw for bodybuilders, fitness buffs, and onlookers for over sixty years. Just south of the pier, and only sixteen miles west of Hollywood, Muscle Beach is still a hotspot for fitness and the occasional celebrity sighting. Permanent balance beams, high and low bars, ropes, and rings decorate the sand where anyone can practice gymnastics, pull ups, and other feats of physical strength or acrobatics. Even if you don’t utilize the equipment yourself, the spot is great for people watching and enjoying a colorful slice of Los Angeles history.
Annenberg Community Beach House
Formerly the location of actress Marion Davies’ 100 room mansion before its conversion into a hotel and members-only beach club, the Annenberg Community Beach House is now the only public community beach house in the US. The Beach House offers a pool, kid’s splash area, cultural events, game room, cafe, and even an art gallery. While the pool is only open during the summer months, most other activities are available off season as well. Beach sports and classes are also available including beach volleyball, yoga, and water ballet. Find it near the north end of Palisades Park off the Pacific Coast Highway.
Third Street Promenade
After spending the day on the beach, take some time out to walk up Broadway to the Third Street Promenade. Shops, restaurants, cafes, and a movie theater line the three block expanse, which also has its share of entertaining street performers. Mess around with the newest Apple product at the Apple store or check out the Tesla showroom where you can sit inside one of their Model S cars. Right around the corner there is also a weekly certified farmers market on Wednesday mornings off Arizona Ave. where local chefs buy produce for posh restaurants in the area.